Online Attack On Citizenship Test (Australia)

Online attack on citizenship test

The Age (Melbourne)
September 25, 2007 – 11:59AM

A five-minute video that mocks the new Australian citizenship test has been posted on the internet by Australian Democrats leader Lyn Allison.

The YouTube video picks holes in the “stupid” test, introduced this month by the Federal Government and backed by a taxpayer-funded advertising blitz.

It's the latest shot in the online battle between political parties that has been a feature of this year's pre-election campaign.

In the clip, Senator Allison says the citizenship test is designed to make Australians feel under attack from migrants and could be a ruse to reintroduce conscription.

One sample test question asks: “Which one of these is a responsibility of every Australian citizen?”

The possible responses are (1) Renounce their citizenship of any other country; (2) Serve in Australian diplomatic missions overseas; or (3) Join with Australians to defend Australia and its way of life, should the need arise.

The correct answer is (3).

“What if I was elderly, or the mother of young children?” Senator Allison says.

“It sounds to me as if the Government wants to reintroduce compulsory military conscription.

“Or perhaps it's just designed to make us feel as though we're under attack, because we all know that when we're afraid, the Government can get away with just about anything.”

She disputes the correct answer to another question – that everyone has equality of opportunity.

This was not correct when Australia locked up refugees and its indigenous people had a life expectancy 17 years younger than other Australians, Senator Allison said.

Attacking another of the potential test questions, the Democrats leader said it was ludicrous to deny someone citizenship just because they did not know the golden wattle is the nation's floral emblem, or that Sir Donald Bradman was a great cricketer.

“This is a test designed to exclude people on the basis that they can't memorise answers to some pretty obscure questions,” she said.

Under the citizenship testing regime introduced by the Howard Government, people applying for citizenship must correctly answer 12 out of 20 multiple-choice questions about Australia's history, government, geography and traditions.

The test questions, which the government refuses to make public, are based on the contents of a resource booklet put together by the immigration department.

The test comes into effect on October 1.